Saturday – Sunday, 22 – 23 Mar 2008
Mann, T. (2008). “On the Record” but Off the Track” a review of the Report of The Library of Congress Working Group on The Future of Bibliographic Control, with a further examination of Library of Congress cataloging tendencies. , 38. Washington, DC: AFSCME 2910. Retrieved from http://www.guild2910.org/WorkingGrpResponse2008.pdf.
Sunday, 23 Mar 2008
Weinheimer, J. (2008, January 1). An Open Reply to Thomas Mann’s report “On the Record” but Off the Track. . Retrieved March 23, 2008, from http://eprints.rclis.org/archive/00013059/.
DeLillo, D. (1986). White Noise. , Contemporary American fiction., 326. New York: Penguin Books.
You could put your faith in technology. It got you here, it can get you out. This is the whole point of technology. It creates an appetite for immortality on one hand. It threatens universal extinction on the other. Technology is lust removed from nature (285).
Technology is lust removed from nature. Oh man! Does “fiction” get any better that?
Monday, 24 Mar 2008
Levy, N. (2007). Neuroethics. , 346. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Read the Preface and Introduction to this (73 pp.) Man! This sure made me miss all my work in consciousness. Looks like it’d be a very good book, but I’m just not sure I can devote the time to the rest of it right now.
The introduction does a great job of dispelling many myths of self-hood and consciousness among other topics. One is the equation of the self with consciousness:
Many of our actions, too, including some of our most important, are products of unconscious mechanisms. The striker’s shot at goal happens too fast to be initiated by consciousness, similarly, the improvising musician plays without consciously deciding how a piece will unfold. Think, finally, of the magic of ordinary speech: we speak, and we make sense, but we learn precisely what we are going to say only when we say it (as E. M. Forster put it, “How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?”). Our cleverest arguments and wittiest remarks are not vetted by consciousness; they come to consciousness at precisely the same time as they are heard by others (24).
Another is the myth of internal representation:
Our visual experience is as of a world that is internally represented. But the world is not internally represented, at least not in any great detail. There is nevertheless a sense in which we do possess a rich representation of the world. We represent the world to ourselves not by way of an internal image, but by having an external model: the world itself. Rather than take a snapshot of the scene and store it internally, we rely upon the actual stability of the world. We store our representation outside us (34).
Yes, I have only reproduced some claims here. Do not worry; there is plenty of science and good philosophy to back it all up.
Monday – Friday, 24 – 28 Mar 2008
Swift, J. (1996). Gulliver’s travels. (Unabridged [ed.].). Mineola N.Y.: Dover Publications.
For these Reasons, the Trade of a Soldier is held the most honourable of all others: Because a Soldier is a Yahoo hired to kill in cold Blood as many of his own Species, who have never offended him, as possibly he can (185).
Is it really satire? And please feel free to be offended if you like. I was a soldier for over 20 years, and technically will be until I die. My son is also a soldier with over 8 years of service and is a combat veteran. Satire may well be truth.
Tuesday, 25 Mar 2008
Mazzochi, F., Tiberi, M., De Santis, B., & Plini, P. (2007). Relational semantics in thesauri: some remarks at theoretical and practical levels. Knowledge Organization, 34(4), 197-214.
Friday, 28 Mar 2008
Some articles by David Bade that have been submitted for publication. Not sure if I am allowed to discuss them yet so will hold off.
Mugridge, R. L. (2008). Experiences of newly-graduated cataloging librarians. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 45(3), 61-79. doi: 10.1300/J104v45n03_06.
I only skimmed this one so I will hold off from any real commenting. It is interesting to me as it is highly related to my original CAS topic, although I had hoped to go a bit deeper.
Friday – Saturday, 28 – 29 Mar 2008
Kari, J. (2007). A review of the spiritual in information studies. Journal of Documentation, 63(6), 935-962. doi: 10.1108/00220410710836439 .
I was hoping that this piece might serve as a piece of the domain analysis-integrationism connection for my CAS paper but I was wrong.
While it is possibly interesting to some, I think Kari is confused about several things. In particular, what is science and what are the limits of what it can study. This confusion is readily apparent in the article itself and not only in the confused critiques made of the literature being reviewed.
One example is this non-starter of a statement: “Documenting a spiritual occasion in an objective fashion is so much easier: all one needs is a video camera” (949). WTF? First off, most of the what could possibly pass for a spiritual occasion can not in any sense be documented in an objective fashion.
This is related to what seems to pass for the author’s view of what science is and what doing science consists of. While no formal definitions are provided, the best sense that I could get is that simply counting things and turning numbers into a statistic or two is science. Well, It is not. I also have no doubt that the author’s views are a bit less simplistic than this but nonetheless that is the sense I get from the article.
Another example that shows that the author is confused about the separation of science and other modes of inquiry is demonstrated in his critique of an article by Babb, and especially in this statement: “The above extract shows that Babb is well up on the matter, but also sometimes she apparently forgets to maintain the critical or objective attitude of a scientist” (955).
That comment is not only wrong but ignores what Babb was doing in her article [Babb, N. M. (2005) "Cataloging spirits and the spirit of cataloging." CCQ 40(2):89-122] Babb can easily be (and was) critiqued for using such a small sample but she was not attempting to do science. She was looking at title pages of books purportedly written by spirits and how our cataloging rules have evolved to handle such attributions of authorship. There is no serious sense in which that could ever be considered to be doing science.
I will leave you with the conclusion, which while it makes some valuable points also commits the same fallacy.
It is time for information researchers to start asking themselves not only how to exploit context in reaching a holistic picture of informational phenomena, but also what the empirical contexts are that are bona fide foreign to them and potentially significant to humanity. By doing so, we may open up new grounds for further research and thus widen the scope of information studies as a branch of science (959).
Read that through once or twice and tell me you can’t see the confusion. If we want a holistic picture then we must admit ways of knowing besides science. If we are only talking the empirical then we are excluding whole realms of phenomena, of human experience, and of human knowing. Information studies is not a science (and that is OK), but if we only admit the empirical then we have excluded far more than we can honestly cover.
Saturday, 29 Mar 2008
Budd, J. (2008). Self-Examination: The Present and Future of Librarianship. , 281. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.
Started this yesterday and it looks quite good. So far I have read the Introduction and the 1st chapter: Genealogy of the Profession.
There are a few minor issues and claims that I have trouble with but they do not have much to do with (or influence on) the larger purpose so I am trying to be forgiving. I am going to comment on one, though, as it is directly related to many of my current interests.
Early in the 1st chapter Budd writes, “In order for there to be communication there has to be language; do we know what the first language was, how it came to be, who spoke it” (3)?
Unless one is equating communication and language—actually under any account—that is a complete non-starter. They are and never have been coextensive. And, as Harris so ably demonstrates, it is communication that must proceed language. The very idea of a language (in use) requires that there be communication. The simplest refutation is that most people will agree that almost every animate being on this planet communicates between others of their own kind, and often as not with beings of other sorts. The vast majority of these people will also adamantly deny any use of language, much less the capability for language, to these creatures.
As I said, not really relevant to the larger purpose of the text, but it will cause me to keep a sharper eye on his larger arguments. I find it hard to believe that a scholar with the philosophical bent of Budd could make that mistake.